Like everything else in your vehicle, the drive shaft is made of many small parts, and being able to recognize the signs that you need to service your drive shaft is critical to maintaining your car as a whole.
One of the first symptoms of a bad drive shaft is the presence of loud grinding noises coming from underneath your vehicle. This issue stems from the universal joint (U-joint) wearing down, causing the rest of the system to work harder to accommodate the failing part. If the problem persists, the shaft will have difficulty rotating, meaning it will provide less power to your wheels.
Conversely, you may hear high-pitched sounds instead of the low grind. This can also come from problems with U-joints, but instead of them wearing down, the noise originates from a lack of lubrication. This is the sound of two metal parts grinding together without any lubrication, causing a gradual deterioration of the parts.
Aside from odd noises, another common sign is constant vibrations that either shake your steering wheel or the whole cabin. There are several different types of vibrations to look out for, each one the result of a different problem. Be aware of how intense the shaking is; allowing it to progress further presents a driving hazard on top of damaging your vehicle.
Issues Making Turns
When maintenance issues progress far enough, it will affect how your car handles, making driving more difficult. There can be several broken components linked to issues with turning, but when it gets to this point, you need to take it to a mechanic for service immediately. Your vehicle is no longer safe to drive, and you’re endangering yourself and others by being on the road.
Don’t Wait on Repairs
When drive shaft problems are still in their infancy, such as when you hear high-pitched noises, there’s still time to solve the issue. Don’t allow mechanical failures to grow to the point of tangibly affecting your driving ability. Know the signs that something is wrong and take your car in for regular service.